Mike and I did a metric century (100 KM) mountain bike ride on Saturday.
Last Monday night I was looking at Strava and I saw that my friend Mike Simmons had just completed a pretty big solo ride. Mike rode his mountain bike from his home in Mount Dora all the way to the Paisley Woods MTB trails (about 18 miles), then rode the Paisley loop (about 20 miles) and then back home for a total ride of 55.3 miles.
Paisley Woods MTB Trails is semi-affectionately known as “The trail we love to hate”. We also call it “The Sandbox”, which is appropriate. Sugar sand is like elevation that doesn’t get counted. In fact, I’m going to start calling sugar sand “Florida elevation”. 🙂
The scenery and wildlife at Paisley are nice, but no one really rides there for fun: we ride it for saddle time and training miles. The entire Paisley Woods MTB trail system is 22 miles, but the main loop is about 18 miles.
On Tuesday Mike and I were messaging on Skype about his impressive road+Paisley MTB ride, and my ride at Mt. Dora earlier that same day (that was the ride where I finally got the KOM on the main loop). Mike said, “I am thinking about doing that ride again real soon…”
I asked Mike how safe the roads were riding all the way up to Paisley, and he said most of it was pretty safe, but there were a couple of stretches that were a little dicey…
Me: “Yeah, that always makes me nervous… hey, what about we drive up there Saturday morning and do a double at a sustainable pace?”
Mike: “Sounds good, I will let you know.”
Me: “OK cool, I would like to get one of those under my belt.”
I’m not aware of anyone doing a triple (3 laps) at Paisley. Heck, a double through all that sand is never an easy ride. So that conversation was the genesis of the three lap idea, and that sort of percolated in our brains for the rest of the week.
My friend Paul sent a text message on Friday, inviting the usual suspects to Santos to do a 42-mile Epic Saturday morning. That ride sounded really fun, but at that point I’d been so fixated on doing 3 laps at Paisley that I couldn’t back down from the challenge. Same for Mike. My text message conversation with Paul went like this:
Me: “Have fun tomorrow. I’m thinking about trying for a triple.”
Me: “Three laps in the sandbox.”
Paul: “Too hot for that!!!!!!!”
Me: “Part of the fun. :)”
Paul: “You joined the right (cycling) group. I see you’re crazy also!”
The forecast called for rain on Saturday, but Mike and I were 100% committed to completing the ride, rain or shine.
We rolled out from the Clear Water trailhead shortly before 8:00 AM on Saturday morning with a light drizzle falling on our bikes and determination in our eyes.
Our goal was to maintain a fairly consistent pace for each of the three laps. We figured somewhere between 10 and 11 MPH would be a decent, but sustainable pace.
Shortly after starting the ride Mike caught sight of a big black bear! She was gone before I saw her, but it was so cool that Mike got to catch a glimpse of her. We also saw a fairly large herd of deer, lots of birds, some squirrels and a snake.
Mike and I both felt great the entire ride. No cramping issues, no mechanical problems and plenty of energy. After we’d completed the first two laps (about 40 miles into the ride), we rode back to the trailhead to replenish water and supplies. While we were at the trailhead we were cutting up and joking around as if we’d just got there and not yet ridden a single mile.
After we finished the three laps, our total millage was at 59.5 miles. Mike and I agreed that we had to keep riding for the “dirty metric century”, which is a 100 kilometer (62 mile) all-dirt mountain bike ride. We decided to ride out and back just far enough to get those last few miles in. We not only did it, we hammered it. There was still plenty of fuel in our tanks. We talked about doing a fourth lap, but unfortunately we didn’t bring enough supplies for that. Too bad, there’s no doubt in my mind we could have done a fourth lap.
We wound up with a total distance of 62.2 miles (100.101 KM), a total ride time of 5:51:19, an average speed of 10.6 MPH and 1,755 feet of climbing. My average heart rate was 154 BPM over the nearly six hour ride, and Strava gave me a 236 Suffer Score (“Extreme”)–just 14 points away from an “Epic” Suffer Score. Here’s the complete ride on Strava.
So 62.2 miles is a new mountain biking (all dirt) distance record for me. I’m pretty happy to have a new all-dirt distance PR, especially considering how much I still had left when we were done.
Great ride, Mike! Four laps+ next time. 🙂